Addictive Dating Apps Cause Dopamine Spikes

Women’s lifestyle magazine Bustle has written an article detailing some of the neurological impacts of using a dating app. 

It drew on research from noted scientists and doctors to explore how people’s brains react to getting a match and what makes users continue their swiping habits.

Whenever singles receive any indication of interest, such as a match, a first message or even just a notification, it activates the reward system in their brains. This in turn causes a dopamine spike and results in a noticeable feeling of happiness.

Dating apps also elicit similar responses to gambling, because there are actually two dopamine hits: one when users imagine themselves getting a match, and the second when they make one.

The unpredictable rewards cause some users to fall into potentially damaging behaviour patterns, such as swiping continually. The ‘Paradox of Choice’ is a related problem; they are never satisfied with the match they’ve just made, and always try for another.

Dr. David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, explained to Bustle: “When what you’re looking for is unpredictable, it creates a resistance to extinction; this is why people endlessly search through these apps.

“They’re getting intermittent hits of possibilities and potential with no end. If you got no responses for month after month, you’d probably lose interest in it pretty quickly.”

He continued on to explain the areas of the brain which are activated are “very primitive” instincts related to sex and procreation.

The article concluded by assuring readers not to worry if they find themselves addicted to swiping, as it’s very natural and many dating apps are designed to keep users hooked.

Hinge furthered its commitment to being “Designed to be Deleted” recently by releasing new adverts that showed an animated version of the app’s logo being ‘killed’ every time a new relationship started.

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